…as Obama says they are? – Obama has said he’ll create jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. How badly do we need this done?

Very badly, it turns out?especially when it comes to bridges. A recent report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation?s failing infrastructure an overall grade of “D.” The report, which suggested that it might cost as much as $2.2 trillion to remedy America’s ailing physical backbone, included everything from schools and parks, to bridges and dams, to levees and rail systems. This is the same report card that the group issued to Congress in 2005, except that, in reality, the rating has slipped from a “high D” to a “low D.”

Engineer Marybeth Miceli says, “The roadworthiness of our nation’s two hundred thousand existing metal bridges is a serious problem that does not receive nearly enough attention. The August 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse that resulted in thirteen deaths and nearly 150 injuries was only the most infamous recent large-scale bridge disaster.”

There have been 1,500 partial or total bridge collapses between 1966 and 2005, an average of one bridge every ten days, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. Part of the reason for this is because while our nation?s bridges are generally designed to have a fifty-year lifespan before major rehabilitation, most US bridges are over fifty years old and were not designed to handle current traffic and load levels. Let’s hope the ones in YOUR town don’t collapse next!

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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